Christmas with a conscience

photo by Thea of our Tree at mom's

As Manic Trout has grown over the past few years, the holidays have taken on new meaning for me.  The six weeks up to Christmas is hectic, chaotic and filled with hour upon hour of full filling holiday shopping orders to be shipped out as fast as possible.  Even though its stressful I truly love it and have in the past two years streamlined the whole operation so I can manage it all with as little freaking out as possible.  I however have had to really make an effort to get my own shopping done in the midst of all this…one year I completely forgot and had to go to the mall on Christmas eve.  NOT FUN, and my gifts that year, while still thoughtful…were missing something.

So this year I did a bit of planning.  I decided I was only going to by either handmade, from businesses owners I network with online or from local business owners I know (well except for one item that my mom really wanted for the kitchen, but hey, who can say no to their mom!).  I found gifts I loved and I was really happy to hand over my hard earned earnings to those I see work so hard themselves all year growing their own businesses.

A few of my favs were a gorgeous photo of the UVA campus which I framed for my stepfather David who is an alum.  I found this on Etsy through their gift finder facebook tool…excellent suggestion Etsy!

UVA campus
image by Malcolm Macgregor

A Robot tote bag for my sister Thea from Ex Boyfriend.  I have been in the same circles of networking online with the co owner Meredith for years now and love her work ethic and company…they have the best t-shirts too!

robot romance
Robot Romance from Ex Boyfriend

However, my favorite gift of all was a last minute addition, I saw these vintage paint by number paintings in their matching wooden frames at The Pumpkin House (owned by one of my besties, Tara Wing) and knew instantly that they would look awesome in the man cave (aka, Shane’s apartment).

deer paint by number
image by me of man cave art

Aren’t they awesome??? They are even signed on the back, and they were painted the year I was born.  I can’t wait to see them up!

Do you try to shop local, handmade or from those you know?

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